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Carles Torras • Director

“I get swept along by my intuition”


- Catalan director Carles Torras is presenting Callback in competition at Málaga, a gritty, hard-hitting, devastatingly violent English-language film set in New York

Carles Torras  • Director
(© Málaga Film Festival)

There was a huge round of applause at the Málaga Film Festival in appreciation of it having included Callback [+see also:
film review
interview: Carles Torras
film profile
, the fourth feature by Carles Torras (Barcelona, 1974), in its competitive Official Section. It is an unorthodox movie by a filmmaker who is by no means accommodating, but is instead rather daring, as demonstrated by his previous films Youth, Trash and Open 24h, the latter two of which were screened at previous editions of this gathering. This time, he jetted off to New York to dissect the less photogenic side of the cradle of the American dream.

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Cineuropa: Do you have to be really brave to shoot a film as gritty and rugged as Callback?
Carles Torras:
I’m attracted to badly structured characters or those that do not willingly fit in with the established norms. Seeing as I was both the producer and the director of the movie, I raised the funding, found the partners in the United States and got the backing from TV3. It’s double the work, but it allows me to work freely and independently, and develop the projects that interest me, the way I want to do it. It’s not a big-budget film, but it posed the challenge of going to New York with the whole cast and crew and shooting there.

Have you always worked like this?
Open 24h was the turning point, as I produced as well as directed it: before that, my films were produced by other people, and I tried to fit in with the rules of the industry, making it mainstream and likeable, and piquing the interest of the producers... But there comes a time when you think, “I have to be honest with myself and make films that I would watch as a cinemagoer.” And the only way to do that is by becoming a director-producer: when you try to please everybody, you end up making something that has no heart. That’s why I headed in that direction, and people put their faith in me: that facet of being a producer means you have less time to dedicate to creativity, but I have co-workers to help me.

How many years and how much money did it take to make Callback?
Almost €400,000, and since Open 24h, I have produced the documentary American Jesus. I went to New York, and I was working on the screenplay of another film when I met Martín Bacigalupo, the co-scriptwriter, and that’s when Callback came about: so I focused on that. It must have been 2014: we spent two years on it, which isn’t so long; the next movie will progress more quickly...

Will it be in Spain this time?
No, it’ll be in the USA: we’re going to make a diptych or a trilogy about the country. Well, that’s the idea, but we never know where life will take us: I like getting swept along by my intuition. Martín and I are working on another screenplay; we have a shared vision and we have been focusing on exposing the hidden side of that society. The next movie will touch on other themes, but it will follow along the same lines as Callback.

Your film has some really cold cinematography, and the settings are totally real, warts and all.
All of the shooting was done on location, and the locations were chosen meticulously, as was the angle of each shot: we worked on the mise-en-scène, as well as with the actors, and on the post-production of the sound and the image, putting time into stripping the film back and getting rid of any artifices to get right down to the core. We wanted to avoid moving the camera for no reason or inserting music to distract the viewer: we tried to serve the steak rare, so that people would be able to really taste the meat itself, with no sauces to disguise it.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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